Shenanigans on the Boulevard

by Dennis Evanosky

The City should really pay more attention to the parking meters in the Laurel. No, not those parking meters. I'm talking about the methamphetamine and heroin dealers and users in company with the prostitutes who frequent the district. I call them parking meters because, like the meters, they blend in, and most pay scant attention to them.

Once in a while I talk to OPD about these meters. I give the officers full descriptions, license plate numbers and just where and what time the dealers, users, and prostitutes can be found.

I don't know whether to be amused or disturbed when the officer I speak with takes the information as though he or she were not aware of the problem. The meters just blend in and not even OPD notices.

But the meters do notice OPD. Thanks to stronger police presence on MacArthur, they now transact more of their business on Masterson and Redding. If I and my neighbors notice, why doesn't OPD? If OPD notices, why is it business as usual for drug traffic and prostitution in the Laurel?

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel," said one of my neighbors. "The same people are there day after day, often at the same time and in the same place. Why don't the police just arrest them?"

My neighbor poses a legitimate question. As long as the methamphetamine and heroin users and dealers can openly deal their poison and as long as prostitutes can sell themselves without fear of reprisal, the Laurel will always look unattractive to new shoppers and potential businesses.

What if the City paid as much attention to these parking meters as it does to the real ones? What if someone from OPD drove up and down MacArthur with the same deliberate pace as meter attendants do with parking meters? Wouldn't the Laurel become a more attractive place to live, work, and shop? If you like this idea, come to the next Laurel-Redwood Heights NCPC meeting and voice your opinion.

How can we get the City to take care of unfinished business? Code compliance officers are "looking into" Madame Sara's appearance and the Loma Vista garage eyesore. Had Madame Sara read her own tea leaves, she would have seen that setting up shop in the Laurel without the proper paperwork on file would cause problems.

I'm quite tired of thinking, talking and writing about that garage. The City promised that the "entire matter" would be resolved by December 1. So stop by and see. I'll bet you'll still be able to have your car repaired on the shop's MacArthur side (that's against the code) while Madame Sara reads your palm. Oh, and watch out for the parking meters!